25 Oct 2013

My Fitness Diary (10) : Starting Over

Hi everyone! It's been ages since I've checked in with you on a fitness / weight loss post. So let's get up to speed, shall we?

I was really motived in the spring of this year, and started posting a lot of my #SummerFit videos on my second Youtube channel (you can see those here if you're interested). I was exercising regularly, getting back into great shape, my endurance level was going up - and then it all came crashing down!

I had a spinal cord injury beginning of August (which I blogged about here) that left me hospitalized for three days, and in a world of excruciating pain.

After I was released from hospital, I couldn't sit or walk properly for a while. The pain continued and of course I couldn't do any exercise at all, as I was advised by my spinal doctor. He also told me to avoid any exercise for at least 10 weeks. I had to go back to leading a very sedentary life, where I was basically getting very, very little movement throughout the day. I found it hard to sit for very long, so I resorted to editing my pre-filmed videos (which I thankfully I still had a couple stored up) in a horizontal position on our guest bedroom.

Now it's October and I am slowly back to a somewhat normal existence. I can walk, sit for a good 4 hours before the pain comes back, and I am undergoing physiotherapy. I see my therapist twice a week, and we're working on flexibility, strengthening, and increasing movement again. An after effect of my spinal cord injury is that my left leg is partially lame, and I have a loss of feeling. It's slowly going away at a snail's pace, but for a while it was very scary, and also annoying. I kept tripping over my own feet because my leg and foot wouldn't function properly! 

So where has this left me fitness wise? Well of course it totally threw me off my course, and since August, I've not been able to do anything in the way of fitness. It's been a nearly 3 month break, and only now am I slowly easing back into it. I'm also having to change up the kind of exercise I do. Goodbye Insanity fitness DVDs, goodbye high-impact exercise - hello to low impact! Ugh. A part of me hates it because I feel like such a grandma. I was so proud of the strength I had before this, and now I feel really frail. I know, however, that my back needs time to heal, which can take up to 1.5 years for it to go back to normal, but it's my absolute priority right now.

Of course I gained some weight, not dramatically, as I've been trying to watch what I eat a lot more since I cannot get a lot of movement in. It's really frustrating because I absolute hate restricting myself on food, it just doesn't make me a happy camper. I just feel really unfit and soft right now, a lot of the muscle definition I had worked up is ebbing away. It threw me for a loop, I admit, after being so energetic and fit for the past 2 years or so. It made me realize how much it's become a part of my life, and how much I miss going outside to exercise when I can't do it. It's not only good for your body and health, but also for your mind. It's depressing when you have an injury, and you just can't do anything for so long afterwards.

After getting the green light from my doctor, I made the decision to join a gym that has an indoor pool. I've always been sort of against gyms for myself, because I just never really enjoyed it. I hated the smell, the gross public showers, and running like a hamster on a treadmill, never really going anywhere. But I went for a trial work-out at this place nearby, and it was very clean, with really new equipment, lots of windows, and I loved swimming. I used to swim a lot as a teenager, and then again as a student in university, so I'm actually quite good at it. Right now I can do front and back crawl; breast stroke still hurts my back somewhat because you have to arch your back. I also want to start weight lifting for my arms, because I just hate the softness I have there, and no amount of running will change that. I'll have to be careful with lifting weights on other parts right now, because it can be bad for an injured back. I'll just have to see what works, and what doesn't.

I'm excited to start a new routine, but also sad that running will have to go on hold at the moment. I tried some speed walking but it just wasn't the same. I will miss my beautiful wooded trails in autumn this year. It also means I'm unsure if or how I will be able to film fitness videos again, as I will be in an indoors environment, which makes things extremely awkward for self-vlogging. I'll have to see how it develops and if I feel comfortable doing that with people around, who might not be too keen on being filmed working out in the background.

That's it from my side, and where I'm at. As you can see, we all suffer set backs at some point, for some it might be small things, in my case it was a bit more scary. The important thing is just not to give up, and when you're ready, to hop on the wagon again!

Have you ever suffered a set-back in your fitness or weight loss routine? What happened and what did you do to overcome it? Please share in the comments, I would love to get some feedback as this is something I think everyone struggles with from time to time.



  1. Hope you fully recover soon & enjoy your new regime, take care :)

  2. Cathe Friedrich made a Low Impact Series that I've taken a brief look at. It isn't low intensity, and uses an aerobic step. Not sure how that would work with the reduced feeling in your leg. I have back issues as well and can't do the high impact things that seem to be everywhere. Good luck!

  3. This is my first time on your blog even though I've been watching your videos for ages! I really enjoyed all your Summerfit videos, they're the reason why I started going running and doing yoga to up my fitness level and I'm trying to blog about it as well. I've always had problems with motivation, but seeing your blog post today has made me more determined to keep up with my fitness routine as nothing is stopping me from doing it - I need to stop making excuses! Thanks Julia and hope you get better by the day x

  4. Hello Julia. A couple of years ago I was a very active person, I worked out on a regular basis and after being super active for a few years, after I'd gained weight because of a medical treatment, I fell badly in a volleyball game a injured my spinal cord. The pain, as you know, was excruciating and I had to interrupt exercise for over six months as it took me a long time to be able to overcome the discomfort in my back. I gained quite a bit of weight back, about 8 kilos of the 18 I'd lost, I lost endurance and definition, it was a horrible feeling, not being able to move and on top of that gaining weight that I'd worked so hard to get rid of.
    I eased back into exercise with physiotherapy, gymnastics in water (with a lot of old ladies at my gym) and very slowly my back started feeling more and more normal. Then I started swimming, I swam slowly at first to ease the stress on my back and then started cycling and so on. After about a year I could start taking brisk walks and now I exercise regularly but I'm still careful to avoid exercise that is too "aggressive" for my back. All I'm saying is: it's a tough thing not being able to resume normal activity but eventually you will get used to things and you'll feel better and "normal".
    Good luck with everything. :)

  5. Hi Julia, I can say I understand how you feel. A few years ago I suffered a back injury while running that has made it that I cannot do much high intensity training. I can't run anymore, nothing with repetitive jumping. Can't lift anything heavier than 25lbs without feeling horrible pain. That year was excruciating for me. I couldn't walk, barely moved, on all kinds of meds to help the swelling in my spine. I gained about 50lbs on top of the weight I was trying to lose. Since then thigh, I took my life by the horns and have lost 65pounds, have about 30 to go but it is a challenge dye to my limitations with exercising. It e gets easier and you will find what works with your back!


  6. Hi Julia, I can say I understand how you feel. A few years ago I suffered a back injury while running that has made it that I cannot do much high intensity training. I can't run anymore, nothing with repetitive jumping. Can't lift anything heavier than 25lbs without feeling horrible pain. That year was excruciating for me. I couldn't walk, barely moved, on all kinds of meds to help the swelling in my spine. I gained about 50lbs on top of the weight I was trying to lose. Since then thigh, I took my life by the horns and have lost 65pounds, have about 30 to go but it is a challenge dye to my limitations with exercising. It e gets easier and you will find what works with your back!


  7. If you're interested the Fitness Blender channel on YouTube has a couple of low impact videos you can try out, but obviously I'd check with a trainer at the gym first and/or your physiotherapist which exercises are ok and which are not as the back is so ubiquitous.
    I've had back problems myself for nearly a year and I've found that doing regular but very low impact exercise helps keep the wobblies/softness/frustration away. Also, careful walking with good shoes and while keeping your abs pretty tight to avoid injuring your back.
    In most cases, I personally believe that total immobilization is not the way to go, simply because one gets too frustrated and might end up doing something stupid while being too weak (like picking up a box or something, not thinking). But always make sure to get professional opinions on what works, so you can keep at it on your own :)

  8. I have been working out for almost a year. In November 2012 I was only a workout beginner so I had little knowledge of the benefits of exercise for the joints and muscles. Before begining training I had frequent headaches, waking up with a tight neck and pain throughout my neck and upper back area. I went to an orthopedic and was diagnosed with neck flattening. I started physiotherapy in December 2012 in a local centre but was eventually disappointed as I wasn't treated professionally. The pains continued of course, and although late, I decided to have a second series of physiotherapy in April 2013 up to May (3 sessions a week, of one hour and a half). At that point my working out had been lifting weights in the machines, nobody in my gym took liberty and risk to teach me how to lift free weights. Then, I tried to combine physiotherapy with pilates workouts 2 times a week, since I wasn't to stress the trapezius and romboid area, which ultimately happened with my previous workout due to lack of muscle flexibility and strength. My physiotherapist constantly adviced me to do proper stretching after working out, which sometimes I avoided due to my self-conciousness in the gym...(I know, so stupid!!). After my final physiotherapy series in July-September 2013, I took things really seriously.I followed my doctors advice word for word.I decided to train with free weights and spend the right amount of time for stretching before and after workout. I feel really healthy right now compared to 6 months ago. I also purchased a foam pillow and combined with my current workout routine, the pain gradually went away. I know what you're going through. Not being able to work out is really bad and you lose that great sense of exhilaration, let alone feeling flabby. But be patient. It's only going to get better with time. Don't lose heart. Keep strong :)

  9. So sorry to hear about your trouble with spinal cord, sounds horrible.
    I am struggling a lot, and hope every day that tomorrow is gonna be a better day and maybe i can take a walk and a little strength excercise in my home to start with. I`ve got fibromyalgia, and a small degree of cfs. I hated excercise when i was healthy and well, but after i got sick I like it much more!
    I have been actually in a good shape some periods, i was running, and severel day in pool aerobics that i love, went skiing, spinning and some strenght excercise.
    But now, Ive been worse the last 2 years.... still is a member on the gym, i hope i soon can use it again, but when I\ve tried, i end up in bed for a couple of days.
    Still crossing my fingers that some day this will turn and I will get better of this sickness. i have sooooo many kilos to get lost now.... but dont know how. Try to eat smaal amount of carbs. Eating alot of veggies and protein. If i eat carbs, it is wholw grain kind of stuff. Take some shakes and try to eat healthy... but still the kilos goes up.
    Looking forward to the snow now, i will try a little bit of skiing again with my boyfriend. And he is so understanding and support me. He is in the gym 5 times a week, so i get some inspiration of him.

    Wish you good luck and hope you get better Julia. We people are not made to be lying on the couch.
    Hope some others will comment and share their experience.

  10. Hey Julia! I'm so sorry you had to go through this. I loved watching your Summer fit vlogs and you really inspired me to get out and get more active. I actually take a Pilates class in my town and there is a woman that goes to the class who has severe back problems to the point where she was almost put in a wheelchair but the pilates has helped her so much in only a few weeks to loosen up and strengthen her spine again and now she doesnt even need her walking stick! It's incredible! Maybe taking up pilates will help strengthen your back up again. I know it's not the kind of exercise you're used to but it can be fun and challenging and there are different levels you can try out :)
    Hope you recover soon :D

    Leona - Ireland

  11. I've been on my weight loss "journey" (I hate that word, but don't know what else to call it) for over 3 years. I've had many setbacks, but have never given up. All you can do is just start back where you are, and go from there. I've lost over 150 pounds, and still have about 30 to go. I lose weight very slowly, even now when I am training for a half marathon. So, I can see how frustrated you are. When I get sick and have to take a few days off, I get aggravated. I hope your back heals quickly. I think it's great you are looking into different forms of exercise. Some people get involved in only one thing, and never want to change it up, but I think it's good to do that. How did your back get injured I've watched a lot of your makeup videos, but I went for a while and didn't watch you tube very much, I must have missed it. Anyway, I have a blog where I write about my life and journey to better health. It's called The Singing Bird if you ever want to read it. :)

  12. Hope you are well an truly on your road to recovery Julia! It must be incredibly frustrating after all that hard work. You're doing the right thing slowly easing yourself back into in, and giving your body time to properly heal.

    If you've not already tried it you should really look into using DDP yoga. This guys workout is phenomenal. It's low impact but makes such a huge difference in your body. Many athletes who have had niggling injury's have used his programme have found that not only did it help them get into the best shape of their life, but it also helped them become pain free! It's excellent.

  13. Molly Ann2:09 pm

    Two and a half years ago I slipped on ice and broke my leg. I've never been a super active person, but it through me for a loop. I used to be able to go on two or three mile jogs around my campus and as a sculptor I was on my feet constantly. I broke both my ankle and my fibula mid-calf. Even with months on crutches and physical therapy, it's not the same. I have rheumatoid arthritis which had been remission for three years until the accident and once I was healed... I was still in constant pain. Now that it's been so long I can do some things again, like going to the gym (which before that I also never did) but I can't take a run around the block or I will fall. I was also very big on hiking which I can no longer do and I miss it terribly. At the very least I still have yoga and am working my way back into being able to do dead lifts, but any outdoor activity unless it involves sitting down (like in a kayak) I am unable to participate in. Long story short, I definitely know the feeling and while it's very frustrating and can make even the happiest person depressed, you get through it. You find alternatives. One thing that helped a lot from the beginning is sitting Pilates and lifting weights to strengthen my shoulders and arms. Good luck and remember we're all here to support you! =D

  14. Hi Julia,
    I know exactly what you are going through and I feel your pain! I fell at work in September of 2008 and had to have 2 fusion surgeries done on my spine. I have permanent paralysis of my sciatic nerve from my knee down so I have had to build up different muscles for walking over the course of years. It is still a problem and always will be but I learn to live with it. I too had to give up high-impact or potentially dangerous stuff (karate, dirt biking, skiing, etc). I also have chronic pain that has been difficult to manage at times. I also have situation pain from doing pretty much everything so I have to take it easy.

    A lot of times I feel worthless or lazy because I shy away from doing active things that I know will cause me pain. My house is messier because the little bending, scrubbing and picking up motions of housework cause me to have considerable pain. I have a hard time with forming an exercise regime. I have to be very careful in any situation where I might slip and twist my back or hurt it from falling.

    My advice is to walk and swim only for a long time. Enough to keep you active but DO NOT LIFT WEIGHTS until you are fully healed. You have no idea what kind of trouble you will get yourself in if you over exert your back. Just think of the excruciating pain you have experienced and imagine that forever. A little softness and weight gain now is temporary. Nerve damage will last forever if you continue to push the boundaries of what your body can do. Please please please be careful with your activities. You do not want to head down the slippery slope of chronic pain because that will alter your life, mental and emotional state, and activities in a tangible way FOREVER. Please be careful!

    Much love from the USA!

  15. Oh nein! Werd schnell wieder gesund. Ich kann das derzeit ganz gut nachvollziehen. Erst hatte ich im Sommer zum dritten Mal die Kniescheibe draußen und musste dann zwei Monate humpeln (was auch echt anstrengend ist, wenn man keinen Bürojob hat) und vor 2 Wochen ist mein Knie nun operiert worden. Tut wahnsinig weh und an Sport ist noch nicht zu denken. Aber da muss man leider durch. Es kann nur besser werden und jeden Tag steigt die Motivation wieder genau so fit zu werden wie vor dem Problem! :)
    Du bist ja auch ne Kämpfernatur, das wird sicher schnell besser. Das Schlimmste ist vorbei! :D

  16. Hi Julia, thank you for sharing your experience and it really helped me see that in one way or the other we all struggle with things in our lives, but sometimes is easier to think that the grass is greener on the other side :) At this point, I am overweight (many pounds) and it has always bothered me, but never to the point were I could say enough is enough. I live in Guatemala (Central America) and here our main way of transportation is by car, so I have never felt the necessity to work out or to realize that my physical condition is pretty poor. Last week I went on a trip for my work (after 7 years of not traveling) to Washington DC and oh boy was this trip eye openner for me. I had to walk everywhere I wanted to go, all the people around me had lost weight and they felt healthier that I did - that´s for sure. On the plane, when I buckled my seatbelt, I had to put it to the top, because it almost didn´t fit for me :(, and many things like that made me feel handicaped and not capable of doing things that normal size people can do, but most importantly, things that I should be doing and enjoying. Like hicking with my 9 year old son, playing with him, running, sitting on the floor playing with my 11 month old baby girl and having a healthy life for me and my loved ones. I most tell you, I have started to do something about it, but was is really exciting this time, is that I feel very different inside, I feel determined that this will end here, no more tomorrows, or I´ll start on Monday. Your blogs, your stories have really inspired me and even though I don´t know you in person, I thank you for sharing your life, your struggles and successes. They show me that with determination, will and faith, all things are possible.
    I wish that you feel better every day and I hope that you find the best fit program for your needs now, and I encourage you not to give up or give in - what you have accomplished before is great but what you accomplish now and tomorrow will be greater :)
    Xoxo Lourdes

  17. Anonymous3:36 pm

    maybe do more food and diet recepies an vlog about that. i would love to watch that.

  18. I was so sad to hear about your injury when it happened in the summer! I was really loving your summer fit videos, and your story and everything. I love your recipes, and am so jealous of the beautiful swiss landscape where you live! I spent a lot of my summer running and cycling (extra inspired by you, of course!) but running in a city kind of sucks. Anyhow, I did a 10k race, and a southern-Ontario bike tour, and all was well in the fall until I pulled a groin/injured my sciatic nerve at the end of September, just from running! I was so bummed, and was on crutches for a while. I still had a crazy metabolism from all of the activity I had been doing, so I tried to get in exercise from walking or biking. I too joined a gym so I could swim and use the elliptical machines, which are fine on my leg/groin/back. I still can't really run, but I can do these other things, and so I've been able to stay mostly sane! Have you tried the elliptical machines at your gym? I hate doing cardio without MOVING, like what you said, so I listen to podcasts while on the machine to pass the time. I do sweat enormously! Swimming is good too; except I CANNOT do breast stroke either! heheh. (because of the whip kick. whip kick+groin injury=HOLY EFF PAIN) Have you tried using a float between your legs, and only swimming laps using your arms? It's an incredibly difficult arm workout!
    Anyhow, I wish you the best of luck with your injury, and know that we (your super fans) support you so much!

  19. Anonymous3:58 pm

    Julia I had a very similar problem. How your back messes with your left leg. I tripped over mine as well and it is very scary. You think you are not going to be able to walk. It takes time and a lot of patience. Which I have very little of. I hate when the body won't work like it is suppose to. I started with yoga which for me helped a lot. Just stay positive and take it very slow. Good luck and you know we all love you. :-)

  20. I too, suffer from back problems. About 6 years ago my own fitness routine was halted when I suddenly had excruitiating pain down my leg. It turned out that my sciatic nerve was being pinched in two separate places. For 8 weeks it put a complete stop to my whole life, no exercise, work, everything. I could only stand for 15 minutes at a time before the pain got too intense and sitting was absolutely out of the question. I did a lot of leaning against walls and laying on floors with my knees up. To be truly healed and back to myself took a few years, so I completely understand your situation. My injury was just due to bad luck and occupational hazard. I'm a hairstylist and standing all day did a number on me. But I will admit I didn't have the best posture, even though I was a pilates regular, and I wasn't always smart about my footwear choices- it was years of accumulating back choices and a family history of bad backs.

    I'm so sorry that you've had to go through this. I don't wish a back injury on anyone, not only are they the most painful injuries to have but they put a stop to your life for months or years. You'll always have to be aware of it and always have to modify things to protect it but rest assured you'll feel like yourself again. After all of these years I'm jogging again, no pain! Good luck and speedy recovery Julia!!!!!

  21. Anonymous5:25 pm

    Hi Julia! Thanks for sharing your story. I have gone through something very similar, and have also (within the last year) joined a gym with an indoor pool for the same reasons. I swim a lot (lap swimming), but I also sign up for the Aqua Fitt classes -- like Fitt programs on land, but in the water. It's a little more challenging than regular water aerobics and is a great low impact workout. Check it out and see if your gym can offer! It is usually a short program (ours are 5 weeks, once a week) that is designed in the circuit training style. ~Marcia

  22. Karen5:58 pm

    I hope you get well soon!! Take care so much and try to not get annoyed! You'll get tired of not being able to do your normal life but be careful so you heal completely. That kind of injuries have side effects for years, but the recovery time is decisive. I had a hip injury 3 years ago and I still sometimes get sore or in pain.
    I really wish you a bearable recovery, hope you can work as much possible because that helps with the mind aspects of getting better and also, to be happy with your new work out routine, it might not be comparable to the previous high-impact one, but you're on your way to get your strength back! *careful virtual hug*

  23. Did you fall while running? I'm not quite sure how one would get a spinal injury.


  24. I totally feel your pain...literally! I dealt with severe sciatica due to a ruptured disc that was occupying 90% of my spinal canal and causing tremendous nerve pain. It was horrible! It would be great if you did a video sharing your experience...how it happened, what has helped, etc. So many people deal with this and the more info that's out there, the better!

  25. Nicole V8:58 pm

    I injured my foot about 2 months ago, certainly nowhere near as scary as a back injury but still painful. I wasn't able to walk on it at all for the first month, I've been slowly trying to walk on it more over the last month but it still hurts if I'm on it too long. Which means no Insanity for me either, which I loved doing. It's very frustrating when you have a fitness routine and it suddenly comes to a grinding halt like that. One of the really irritating things (in a very shallow way) is that I just bought a new pair of runners for working out in that I love but I only used them once before hurting myself. *sigh*

  26. Anonymous1:54 am

    As much has I loved your Summer Fit videos, what made me love them was your commitment to health, not losing weight or looking a certain way. It was about to smoothies, the healthy grocery shopping, the amazing lunches + dinners, and watching you sweat and do things that made you feel good. I aspire to that level of commitment.

    I appreciate that you're now sharing what you're going through. Even if you're unable to be as active as in the past, I'm still watching, because your commitment to your health is still very much there. :-)

  27. Julia I been trying to lose weight all my life I start lose 20 pounds and very happy but suddenly I just stopped and don't even kniw why dr said is depression but I will continue with my exercise and I hope this time for good. I hope to see u videos soon I really live them. Take care love fom san francisco Ca

  28. www.litcosmetics.com6:52 pm

    Oh shit hun I did not know that you were going through this - I hope you feel better soon and wish you the BEST!! I'm going to send you some of our new "Holographic" glitter - I know it will make you feel better as it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. We send you our best from Canada ;) PS: "BIG GLITTER NEWS" Lit Cosmetics just got into Sephora USA/CAN!! PSS: are you still at the same address?

  29. I haven't ever been through something like this and I don't work out as much as I need to (I'm trying though!). But you definitely seem to be very determined! I hope things get better for you! :]

  30. hay pobresitaaa.Do meditation so you can focus in your spinal cord that will help you a lot.take care dear.

  31. Martina9:20 pm

    Dear Julia,
    I've been following you for years and you're just a great inspiration for me. I read that you had quite a year in terms of bad health, first getting sick with dengue fever in Indonesia and now this. I'm really sorry for you, and hope that you'll get back in shape soon. I send you a lot of support!

  32. Glad you are on the mend. Yes, I know what it's like to have setbacks too! I broke my leg a few years back and it really did a number on my body and mind. Swimming is a great idea. Here in the states there is a show called "Sit and be fit"...it's geared towards older people but is effective for anyone with limited mobility. Some ladies from Weight Watchers swear by it. Maybe it's on YouTube or Google?
    I love your fitness videos, and will be happy when you are feeling up to making them again. Well wishes to you!

  33. Take care of y ou Julia
    I'm ont english excuse my fautes
    Good night miss !

  34. zoo.farm.cheater8:51 am

    I've been recovering from a much more serious surgery in my neck for the last 10 years. I haven't gone insane yet, so I can probably help give some tips:
    -number 1 by far: listen to music through any/all "down time" moments where you're resting, laying down, doing nothing, etc. It makes such a huge difference, you have no idea! Don't listen to any angry, sad, or negative music either. Just positive or fun music that makes you happy.
    -drink at least 7 glasses of water a day (& start off the day with 2 glasses worth because it's been hours since you had any). Water helps keep you alert & energized. Drinking nothing for hours basically dries your brain and makes you miserable.
    -document everything, especially in spreadsheets if you can. Keep track of how much exercise you've done each day, and make totals for each week. Comparing how you've done each week makes you aware of weeks where you're doing nothing without even realizing it, and pushes you to try to beat previous weeks. Keep track of what happened each day too. Otherwise, each day will start to feel like all the others when it really hasn't been that bad.
    -If you're on FB or Twitter, feel no shame in blocking out people from your news feed who keep putting up negative or depressing messages. Over a long run, it'll start to irritate you and bring you down with them. Same thing with going to webpages & message boards with lots of negative things to say. How can you feel the light if you're always dwelling in darkness, right?

    Anyway, I feel strange giving advice to a total stranger, but I like to give advice when I read about someone who's in a similar situation as me. I'm at nickzoofarmcheater@hotmail.com if people reading this want more ideas. But yeah, just know that 1 year from now, you'll be totally different from how you are today. Your actions & determination will decide if it'll be a way better or way worse version of yourself in 1 year's time so don't give up!

  35. Anonymous9:04 pm

    I suffered a slipped disc just before I graduated college. It took 2 years for me to be pain-free, and even now 13 years later my back is still weaker than it was before the injury. But the worse effect it had on me was my mental health. Between having an acute injury and graduating and the fact that my original job plan depended on my physical fitness, I was totally blown off course. I spiraled into a deep depression that I'm still struggling with. I had to change my expectations of myself and my future, basically my whole image of myself, and that was the hardest thing to come to terms with. If you can keep your mind and options open, that will be the biggest thing you can do for yourself. You have some great advice here in the comments about things you can do despite your injury. You'll get through this.